So after some delay, and no small Austin Wilson-related drama, the Cardinals have signed first rounder Zack Cox. Without Wilson around to muddy the internet waters this might have been seen as an enormous coup; Cox was a top-ten pick in many mock drafts, and the Cardinals paid out the proverbial nose to get him. Even without signing Wilson this was yet another aggressive draft from John Mozeliak, Jeff Luhnow, and pursestrings-holder Bill DeWitt.â†µ
Future Redbirds held an impromptu live draft late last night; azruavatar says that if he's the Cardinals he's "[sending] him straight to AAA next year." Since Cox got a Major League contract, and will be using options as soon as he's in minor league baseball, the Cardinals won't have a choice except to be aggressive. That's worked out badly before—it was most recently blamed for ruining Wily Mo Peña's career—but Cox is strictly a polished, college type; if anyone can earn one, it'll be him.â†µ
Of course, if you're still feeling jilted over losing out on the Austin Wilson sweepstakes, there's always this June profile from Project Prospect with which to bring down your fellow fans' spirits:â†µ
If Cox does become a top 10 overall pick in the 2010 draft class, he'll have had the lowest isolated power of any college hitter taken in that range so far this century. Granted we're only going back about 11 years but you have a list of 20+ hitters who have twice as much, if not more than that, power almost on average...â†µ
And then what you're also looking at with him is he's not a guy who's going to be able to play even below-average defense at second base. And perhaps average defense at third base...I think we've all been scratching our heads over the amount of hype he's been getting.â†µ
This is the nightmare scenario with Zack Cox; he hits but not well enough to carry a corner position, he fields but not well enough to play second, and the Cardinals have paid $3 million for Skip Schumaker with 10 home runs. I don't think it'll play out like that, but with polish-first prospects the concern is always whether that upside that's so easy to reach will actually be worth reaching for.